Google TV vs Android TV: What’s Different? [FAQ]
A content-focussed interface!
- Google TV is an emerging operating system experience for TVs and set-top boxes running Android.
- It’s essentially a UI with a sleek new design and plenty of features such as Live TV, watchlist, multiple profiles, remote control, and Google TV app support.
- With Sony and TCL having already launched their Google TV devices—and more brands expected to follow suit—Google TV seems to be all set to replace Android TV by 2022.
Google TV is the newest software experience for smart TVs and set-top boxes from Google, expected to replace Android TV by 2022. As a successor to Android TV, Google TV inherits the best parts from Android TV and combines them with several improvements to extend its capabilities that allow for a more seamless user experience and better content discovery on the platform.
However, ever since its announcement at the Pixel 5 announcement last year, Google TV’s introduction seems to have caused a lot of stir (and also appears to be creating some confusion) around its existence with Android TV.
If you, too, are wondering what happens to Android TV moving forward, here’s a breakdown of all that’s changed with Google TV and the differences between Android TV and Google TV.
What Is Google TV?
Google TV is an emerging operating system experience for TVs and set-top boxes running Android. While it comes as a successor to Android TV, it’s important to note that it isn’t an operating system in itself but rather a new UI with numerous changes, which improves usability and onboard content discovery.
What this means is that Google TV still runs Android at its core but improves upon Android TV’s shortcomings by introducing features such as live TV, mobile remote, smart home integration, and a dedicated Google TV app, among others, to elevate the streaming experience on smart TVs, set-top boxes, and streaming devices (streaming boxes and streaming stick).
What Prompted the Need for Google TV?
Android TV has been accepted as the middleware of choice by a range of television OEMs ever since 2014. When stacked against some of the popular streaming platforms like Fire TV and Roku, however, it always lacked the recommendation and content browsing and discovery functionality offered by its competitors.
As a result, its popularity began to decline in recent years as users started moving to other subscription services. And even though Google did manage to popularize Google Chromecast during this time, in an ocean of overflowing content from various streaming platforms, the lack of better content discovery and personalized recommendations onboard compromised the overall experience.
This lack of personalized recommendations and content discovery prompted Google to introduce a new entertainment experience in 2020. And the all-new Google TV does exactly that with its sleek new design and plenty of features.
How Is Google TV Different From Android TV?
Google TV places heavy emphasis on personalized content and tailored recommendations. It brings together all the content: TV shows, movies, and live TV, from all your different favorite subscription platforms and organizes them categorically in one place.
To achieve this, Google says it has improved the Knowledge Graph to leverage its data effectively—in combination with machine learning—for improving content organization and offering more content suggestions to users on the device. For the uninitiated, Knowledge Base comprises a plethora of information gathered from various sources that Google uses for its services to enhance or improve them.
- New Interface
One of the biggest highlights of Google TV is its new interface that gets a redesigned interface. As mentioned earlier, since Google TV focuses mainly on content, the new home screen now shows all your content right on the home screen. All of this content appears on the For You tab and is generated based on your preference and viewing habits across different streaming services and Google’s very own machine learning predications.
- Live TV
Live TV is yet another major change to Google TV. It brings access to live TV pulled from various live content sources, like YouTube, right on a dedicated Live tab.
- Multiple Profiles
Google lets you add multiple Google accounts to your Google TV devices so that there’s no conflict of content recommendation between different users, and each user gets them tailored to their preference.
Extending the scope of content curation, Google TV also comes with a watchlist feature, which lets you curate content you’d like to watch later from anywhere. So you can add shows or movies to the list from any of your devices, and it’ll reflect on your Google TV device back at home.
- Smart Home Integration With Google Assitant
Apart from content, with Google TV, you also get access to Google’s search prowess, using which you can get weather updates, live scores, and answers to various queries. Moreover, if you have connected devices at home, you can control all your smart home devices with voice, using Google Assistant.
- Google TV App
Android TV isn’t the only one getting a refresh, the Google Play Movies & TV app gets a revamp, as well. It’s now called the Google TV app, and it plays a central role in the Google TV experience by providing access to content across different streaming platforms. Not to mention, it also offers the ability to buy, rent, and watchlist content for your Google TV device.
- Remote Control
Last but not least, Google is also bringing a remote controlling functionality to Google TV so you can control your Google TV-powered device using your Android smartphone.
Are Android TV and Google TV the Same?
No, Android TV and Google TV aren’t the same. Android TV is an operating system, whereas Google TV is a UI built on top of Android TV that provides a more content focussed user experience on Android TV devices. Besides that, Google TV also brings along several new features—as mentioned earlier in the post—otherwise missing on Android TV.
Does Stadia Work on Google TV?
Yes, being a Google product, Stadia does work on Google TV. However, what kinds of games you can play might vary from device hardware.
What Apps Work With Google TV?
Since Google TV essentially runs Android TV underneath, you can run pretty much any app that you could run on Android TV. It’s worth noting, however, that the recommendation functionality might not work the same way across all of them.
Following is a list of some of the popular apps that you can use with Google TV:
Amazon Prime Video
- Apple TV
- Comedy Central
- YouTube TV
Is Google TV Available Only for Google Products?
At the time of its announcement, Google TV was limited to the new Chromecast with Google TV, and Google said it would bring the Google TV experience to more devices in the Android TV ecosystem soon—including those made by third-party OEM partners like Sony.
Earlier this year, Sony corroborated the same and soon announced its latest Bravia XR range of TVs powered by Google TV. Tagging along, TCL also brought their Google TV-powered televisions to the market some time back, and so did a few other TV and streaming device manufacturers.
Following is a list of devices that come with/will get Google TV:
- Nvidia Shield TV and Nvidia Shield TV Pro
- Sony Bravia XR and XR Master Series models
- TCL C725, P725, and C825 models
- Xiaomi Mi Box S
- Xiaomi Mi TV Stick
Besides, Realme is also set to launch its first Google TV product—a 4K Google TV Stick—in India in October 2021.